Buying a New Refrigerator
The average life of a refrigerator is 13 years. So if your refrigerator is getting to that age, you might consider replacing it. Even if it is not that old, newer models are so much more energy-efficient that you might want to replace your current unit just for the energy savings. While you should do your due diligence, if indeed you decide to replace your fridge, here are some tips:
- Size. Obviously, the refrigerator needs to fit the space. Use a tape measure to measure the height, width and depth and door-swing clearance in each direction. A refrigerator with 25 cubic feet should handle most families’ needs.
- Energy efficiency. Refrigerators with an Energy Star rating use 20% less energy than other models. So even though they may be more expensive initially, they may save money over the long haul. Energy Star-rated units will have estimated energy costs on a yellow label.
- Door style. There are three types of door styles:
a. French-door refrigerators have a bottom freezer that opens like a cabinet, and two French doors for the refrigerator above. This is the most common style.
b. If you use the freezer as much as the fridge, select a top-freezer model.
c. Side-by-side units have the freezer on the left and refrigerator on the right. These are appropriate if you eat more frozen than fresh food, and are also less expensive and may take up less space.
- Features. Many people like ice makers and water dispensers, and most refrigerators come with them. These will obviously add cost and may require service down the road.
- Lighting. Make sure your unit is well lit.
- Drawers and shelves. Consider the following:
a. Drawers with rollers as opposed to those with simple plastic guides
b. Spill-proof shelves
c. Doors that can accommodate gallon-size containers
d. Folding or hideaway shelves that can accommodate tall bottles
- Noise. While doing your research, study how much noise the unit will make. A noisy refrigerator can be quite annoying.
- Smart units. Many units now are Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth enabled and can be programmed to sense what kinds of products are being stored inside it and keep track of the stock through barcode or RFID scanning. Many have mounted touch screen tablets and cameras inside. And yes, like any other Wi-Fi device, they are “hackable.”
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